Friday, January 7, 2011

The Eye Roll--or--Still not Quite Accepted

If you've read past the first page of archived posts, you know that I have a very personal and deep interest in intercultural marriages and the effects on both sides of the family. For some reason, this last few days I've been reading up on other blogs talking about the difficulties people have faced in intercultural, interreligious marriages and it reminded me of my first trip to Pakistan.

Yes folks, I went to Pakistan. M was pretty against it for a long time. He actually tried to talk me out of it. I just kept looking for tickets. It was really important to me to see his city, to know where he was born and where he grew up. All this time of not having experienced Karachi made me feel like there was a part of M that I did not know. . . like there was a bit of a puzzle missing and I am a real type-A personality. I must complete the puzzle.

M still laughs now, months later about my determination to visit Karachi. He and I were watching the notorious "Not Without my Daughter" opening scenes where the husband begs his wife to go to Iran with him. She fights back insisting that it is not safe and he tries to convince her over and over of his ability to protect her. M just looked at me with feigned astonishment at this scene, "What in the world did I marry?" he said. "He's standing there begging her to go, and I was begging you not to. . ."

Anyway, this leads me to what M considers an American cultural phenomenon, eye rolling. He is certain that he has never seen a Pakistani woman roll her eyes at anyone. It would be too disrespectful, he asserts. . . .it would never happen.

I let him argue this way for several weeks before I finally said, "I've met your mother, and she is a really good eye roller." At his insistence, I gave him an example.

We went to Pakistan in April. Our trip ended on our wedding anniversary. His family, thinking I could not understand their Urdu, told his mother, "Ammi, this week they've been married for four years! This is their anniversary." Her response, a large eye roll, tilted head and pulling tighter her duppatta. At the time, I overlooked it, but now it is one of my strongest memories of the trip.

Karachi really is a beautiful place, by the way :-) I will have to write more about it soon!